Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Cassiel Ato Forson says the Minority side would have compromised on a few issues raised against the 2022 Budget statement and Economic Policy if the Finance Minister consulted them and taken their opinions into consideration.
According to him, all attempts to get the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta to engage with them, especially on the e-Levy was unsuccessful; thus the unanimous decision to reject the budget in its entirety.
The Minority in Parliament has been against the 2022 budget dubbed the “Agyenkwa” budget right after it was delivered before the House by the Finance Minister on November 17.
According to the NDC MPs, the budget is insensitive to the plight of the average Ghanaian.
They had taken great exception to the E-levy which they believed unnecessarily targeted the poor and less privileged in society.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile Saturday, Ato Forson said following meetings the Minority had had, they had come up with proposals which they believed would have aided in mitigating the crushing effect of the E-Levy on the poor and less privileged.
These suggestions were that the remittance and bank transfer component of the E-levy be abolished completely, while the mobile money aspect of the E-levy be revised downwards.
He explained, “Then comes the momo, we said yes it is a regressive tax, and if you’re going to impose a regressive tax you have to impose it in such a way that its impact on ordinary Ghanaians will not be that severe particularly with the poor and the less privileged.
“So we made some proposals. I heard the Minority leader saying that the rate of 1.75% even if you’re going to pass a regressive tax is not the way to go, you have to reduce it.”
He added that they had also proposed that instead of the government charging the mobile money E-Levy on GH₵3000 transferred within the course of a month, the government should rather do so on GH₵3000 transferred as a lump sum.
He explained “There‘s no evidence that an ordinary person will send GH₵100 every day for the next 30 days so if government intends to exempt GH₵3000 instead of you making it GH₵3000 in the course why don’t you make it a lump sum.
“So if I’m the one sending mobile money out and definitely have an account with mobile money so if I send GH₵3000 charge me after the GH₵3000 and don’t wait for me to send everyday GH₵100, because probably I may not be in the position to send GH₵100 every day.”
According to Ato Forson, after tabling these proposals to the government, the Finance Minister had not approached them to have a consultation on the matter, only for him to zoom in on the day of voting to demand an audience.
“These are suggestions we put across to government, we’re not saying the government should accept all of them, but we were expecting government particularly our Minister of Finance to have come to the table to say that we have listened to you, we have this in mind, we can do A, we can do B, but probably we cannot do C, because of ABCD then we can have a conversation.”
This he said had resulted in the unanimous rejection of the budget.
He is, however, hopeful that cool heads will prevail and the government and the Minority as well as key stakeholders can finally have the much-needed sit down to consider the proposals and approve the budget when reviewed.
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